August 22, 2011, CCM - In July 2011, the Ministry of Health of the People's Republic of China published the first national standard for mixed food additives—National Food Safety Standard: General Rules on Mixed Food Additives (the General Rules), which will take effect on 5 Sept. 2011 as planned. The standard is believed to bring much positive effects on the mixed food additive industry and help it develop healthily and rapidly in the future, according to CCM’s August issue of Corn Products China News.
Against the backdrop of the 2008 melamine scandal and many food incidents happened since then, Chinese government strengthens its supervision of the food industry over the past two years. And food additives have become the focus of the government's attention in 2011—it has launched several relevant policies and standards, such as the new Standards for uses of Food Additives issued on 20 April 2011, particularly prompted by recent food incidents such as "lean meat essence" scare in March 2011 (centred on pork products tainted with ractopamine and clenbuterol, denoted by the Chinese nickname "lean meat essence" or shou rou jing, with which if pigs are fed, they can be prevented to accumulate fat). Now the General Rules are the second step for the government to further strengthen regulation in food industry.
The highlights of the General Rules are as follows. Firstly, it sets some basic requirements for mixed food additives: mixed food additives shall not be harmful to human health; shall be in accordance with the new Standards for uses of Food Additives issued in April 2011; shall not contain any chemical reaction in production or produce new chemical compound, whilst the amount used shall be kept as low as possible. Besides, mixed food additives processors shall establish management system for mixed food additives' production and clearly stipulate the content and detection methods of every food additive.
Secondly, the General Rules stipulates the maximum quantity of hazardous substances in accordance with weighted data result and pathogenic micro organisms in mixed food additives. But only two kinds of hazardous substances' maximum quantity is detailed—lead and arsenic—both at 2.0 mg/kg when the weighted data result is not applicable. As for pathogenic micro organisms, they shall not be detected to exist in end products.
Thirdly, labels of mixed food additives are specified in detail. All of the labels shall cover the name, specification and content of the product and contact information of manufacturer, production license number, etc. Moreover, the name of each single food additive in the production of mixed food additives shall be labelled, and the mixed food additives for retail sales on the market or in catering industry shall be labelled with the content of every single food additive besides its name.
In addition, imported mixed food additives shall have labels or specifications written in Chinese with country of origin and the name, address, and contact information of domestic agencies, besides the label content mentioned above. (name, address and contact information of foreign manufacturers can be written in their local languages.) It is worth noting that the production license number can be exempted in the label of imported mixed food additives.
It's believed that the General Rules will impose much positive effects on the mixed food additive industry in the future, according to CCM’s August issue of Corn Products China News. On one hand, mixed food additive manufacturers can be qualified to apply for food additive production license, which can help improve the average quality of mixed food additives. According to an announcement issued by the State Administration for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) on 7 December 2010, all food additive processors shall apply for "Food Additive Production License" before 1 March 2011. However, mixed food additive processors can't apply for the license because there used to be no national standard for mixed food additive industry. Now, the execution of the General Rules grants them the access.
In this point, lots of small mixed food additives manufacturers will be eliminated because they probably can't get the license. According to the General Rules on Production Permission of Food Additives published on 13 Aug. 2010 and coming into force on 1 Sept. 2010, only those food additives manufacturers getting over 133 points can get the food additive production license. (The full mark is 150 points and it's judged by 75 items including production technology, production environment, production management and so on.) That means the license is difficult to obtain, especially for small processors, but without which they are forbidden to produce mixed food additives. Obviously, large and powerful manufacturers can get benefits and increase market share.
On the other hand, the price of mixed food additives may be pushed up in the future, as the production cost will increase because the production environment and equipment shall be upgraded to meet the requirements of the food additive production license. The cost of raw material—single food additive—will particularly rise. Corn starch, for example, is a common raw material. It can be generally divided into industrial grade and food grade; the former has lower price but pathogenic micro organisms beyond limits usually. Some manufacturers still use industrial grade corn starch for low price, and what's more important, there's no standard to regulate it before. But now, based on the General Rules, industrial grade corn starch can not be used for mixed food additives' production any more, which will increase the production cost.
Some experts consider that the General Rules may reduce the supply of mixed food additives and thereby the demand for single food additive may also decline. However, in CCM's opinion, the demand for single food additive won't be reduced but will increase in the long term. Because the General Rules makes mixed food additives industry more standardized and the public will have more confidence in it, which can increase its demand.
However, the General Rules' content is too general and hard to execute to some extent, and it needs more detailed rules and regulations. It's reported that Chinese government may issue related detailed rules and regulations in the near future.
Source: Corn Products China News 1108
Content of Corn Products
News 1108: China
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Corn Products China News, a monthly publication issued by CCM International on 20th of every month, presents the latest news of
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